Reacting to the new Pinarello Grevil F gravel race bike

Reacting to the new Pinarello Grevil F gravel race bike

In conjunction with this weekend's UNBOUND Gravel, Pinarello has released a new version of their Grevil F gravel bike. Since the end of the Interbike trade show, brands have had to find other different events for their product launches - UNBOUND, Sea Otter, and so on and UNBOUND has become a popular weekend to browse what's new.

The Grevil F updates the 4 year old original Grevil design with some new features while retaining most of the distinctive "love it or hate it" looks. You can't miss this bike on the trail with dramatic fork and seatstay shaping, and unique "fairing" covering the front disc brake caliper. Per Pinarello, this re-design focuses on improved performance and aerodynamics.

Pinarello Grevil F - what I like

To begin, I love the pure gravel race bike design. There aren't any braze-ons for fenders or "anything cages" on the fork legs. You do get an extra bottle cage on the underside of the downtube, but that's it for extras.

The flipside is this isn't a good choice for bikepacking or touring, there just isn't a way to carry all the required gear. At least they're honest about the intended use and capabilities of the Grevel F - it's for serious gravel racing. Stripped to only the essentials, what's left is for going fast in competitive environments, and that's fine with me - I'd choose a different bike for overnight bikepacking trips anyway. 

Another win is that the Grevil F appears to be a real product you can actually buy, today, in contrast to the updated Crossista F cyclocross frame that Tom Pidock rode to the world title. The Crossista F was "announced" but never made it to the Pinarello website, and you can't buy one (yet) even though six months have passed - although that's certainly coming in the future. Hopefully in time for the Fall 2022 season.

Your mechanic might not love the fully integrated cabling on the Grevil F, but I think it's great. Internal cable routing protects cables from the elements, which is great on bikes that get pressure washed. There's nothing worse than a manufacturer who builds a beautiful new bike, then uses exposed shifter inner wire underneath the drive-side chainstay... the one spot on the bike where it's most exposed to mud, moisture, and grit. Either hide the cables inside the frame, or use full housing if you want external routing. On the Grevil F, the shifter and brake cables are not only hidden in the frame tubes, they also pass through the stem and headset, so you don't even see a hint of cabling at the front of the bike. Super clean and lines up with the aerodynamic vision.

I also like the flexibility of being able to use 700c or 650B wheels. This bike also accepts massive tires: 50mm with 700c wheels or 2.1" with 27.5" / 650B. Great.

Finally, Grevil F is light, but not crazy light. The published figures list an unpainted frame at 1,090 grams for a 53cm frame (with no paint) and 500g for the matching fork; complete bike with Ekar coming in at 18-19 lbs, depending on wheel choice. That seems to me like a reasonable compromise between weight and durability under off-road use.

Riders are increasingly asking more from their gravel bikes and I especially like the "heavier" fork which presumably could be stronger for more strenuous riding. Pinarello's media photos and launch videos actually show a riding "getting air", which hopefully speaks to the durability of this model under agressive riding and more challenging terrain.

Pinarello Grevil F - what I don't like

I think the dropped-drive-side chainstay, which is now found on essentially all carbon fiber gravel and cyclocross frames looks goofy. Yes, I understand it exists to provide additional clearance for wider tires, chainrings, and the front derailleur (although the Ekar group doesn't use one), but I still prefer the clean lines of a classic double-diamond bicycle frame. There's just no way around this design without compromising something else or making other radical changes - like using something other than the standard 12 x 142mm rear end.

If you want to load the Grevil F up with bags for an overnighter you're going to mark up the frame by using velcro straps :(  because there just aren't any mounts for racks, fenders, bags, or other accessories, other than the 3 bottle cages. At minimum, a top-tube "feed bag" braze-on would have been nice, which are becoming increasingly common, if not a standard on gravel machines.

Price is also a downer - if you want one, prepare to pay up, because it's $6,500 for a complete bike with Campagnolo Ekar. To be candid, if you're in the market for a Pinarello, it's because you're seeking performance and image, not necessarily value, so you already know that.

I love the Ekar group, but Campy isn't for everyone. Pinarello says SRAM and Shimano-equipped bikes, which many riders might prefer, will be available this Fall. I often look to Giant when benchmarking bikes for value, and the Giant Revolt Advanced 0 is priced at $6,400, within $100 of the Ekar-equipped Grevil F.

So how do they stack up? On the Revolt Advanced 0 you get Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, carbon wheels, and some neat features like a flip-chip that allows adjustable frame geometry; I also appreciate how you can use Giant's proprietary comfort seatpost OR switch to a traditional round model if you choose. In short, it does look like a better value. What it doesn't have? "Pinarello" on the down tube, for starters. Speaking of that seatpost...

Proprietary seatpost - in my opinion, a proprietary seatpost is just asking for trouble. Bend or break one while you're on a road trip? Out of luck. If your bike has a traditional round seatpost, replacements are available at basically any bike shop. Thomson is the gold standard IMO for cyclocross and gravel bikes, they are reliable, strong, and stand up to flying remounts. While an aero seatpost looks cool I'm not sure if it's worth the downside for us mere mortals who aren't riding ProTour speeds, especially off-road.

Bottom bracket - it's a traditional threaded type, not press-fit (yay!) but it's Italian threaded (boo!). Yes, I know it's Pinarello and Italian is expected, but using an Italian threaded bottom bracket significantly reduces bottom bracket choice compared to the more common English version.

Grevil F also has some limited drivetrain compatibility. The press release states "compatible with all 1x and 2x groupsets" with the notable exception of 2x SRAM mechanical shifting, but doesn't state specifically why. If it works with Shimano 2x but not SRAM, if I had to venture a guess perhaps a crankarm/chainstay interference problem? SRAM's XPLR AXS groups, which are designed for the type of riding you'd do on the Grevil F, are 1x and wireless anyway, so perhaps no big deal. Most riders won't want to use one of SRAM's "road" groups on the Grevil F with the increasingly better availability of dedicated "gravel" parts.

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